The Hague District Court has ordered Royal Dutch Shell (RDS) to reduce the CO2 emissions of the Shell group by net 45% in 2030, compared to 2019 levels, through the Shell group’s corporate policy.
Claimants’ right of action
This order has been given in proceedings initiated by seven foundations and associations as well as over 17,000 individual claimants. The claimants believe that as the policy-setting head of the Shell group, RDS takes insufficient action, acts unlawfully, and should do more to reduce CO2 emissions. In their claims they demanded that by 2030 CO2 emissions will have been reduced by 45%, or alternatively, 35% or 25%, compared to 2019 levels. The claims concern the CO2 emissions of the Shell group itself as well as those of its suppliers and customers.
Obligation for Shell to ensure CO2 reduction
The court has come to the conclusion that RDS is obliged to ensure through the Shell group’s corporate policy that the CO2 emissions of the Shell group, its suppliers and its customers are reduced. This follows from the unwritten standard of care applicable to RDS, which the court has interpreted based on the facts, widespread consensus and internationally accepted standards.